For some animals, life is tough – full of hostile environments and dangerous neighbors. To survive, many creatures have developed head-scratching adaptations. Here are just a few of those evolving traits, ranging from bizarre to downright horrifying.
1. Maned Wolf
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There are many unusual things in the Werewolf. Known as the ‘stilt fox’, it is the largest of the canid species and indeed resembles a fox – although not actually related. The wolf’s lanky paws are thought to allow it to spy across the high savannah grasslands it inhabits. Its distinctive bark, called a roar, is also unlike any other species.
But his most unusual trait is the smell of his urine, which smells like marijuana. Curiously, scientists believe that this smell is a Attention to other maned wolves to get away from their territory.
2. Peacock Mantis Shrimp
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Of the 400 species of mantis shrimp that exist, some evolved for spearsome wield a hatchet-like appendage, and some – like the Peacock Mantis Shrimp – opt for good old-fashioned smash technique.
This miniature creature packs a huge punch. Although it only reaches about 7 inches in length, the peacock mantis shrimp punch is known as the most powerful of the animal kingdom – smashing its prey with the force of a .22 caliber bullet. The way the little creature doesn’t erase its own fist is due, in part, to a network of natural shock absorbers under.
3. Black lemur
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On the island of Madagascar, black lemurs like to get high – and their supply is centipedes. Although these lemurs largely prefer to eat fruit, they can sometimes grab a centipede, give it a bite, and rub the toxin it sprays on themselves. Scientists think that the secretion acts as a form of natural pesticide, helping to keep unwanted critters away. In the process, the lemur also gets its kicks.
While certainly unusual, black lemurs aren’t the only species to practice zoopharmacognosy – or self-medication. Many others species rub, nibble or lick their way to health in different ways. However, not everyone makes the buzz.
4. Fishing cat
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Most cat owners can attest that their fluffy feline friends aren’t too fond of water. But this is not the case with the fishing cat. This species of small cat, found throughout South Asia, is well adapted to a semi-aquatic life and lives in mangroves, swamps and river banks. Equipped with partially webbed front toes, the fishing cat is a good swimmer.
He also sports a kind of “thermal underwear“, a short layer of fur under its coat which offers a certain impermeability; this allows cats to spend time hunting in the water.
5. Crypt Guardian Wasp
(Credit: Scott P. Egan, Kelly L. Weinersmith, Sean Liu, Ryan D. Ridenbaugh, Y. Miles Zhang, Andrew A. Forbes/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons)
The evolutionary trait of the Crypt Guardian Parasitic Wasp is straight out of a horror show. The wasp lays its eggs in the hollows of oak trees, right next to those of other wasps such as Bassettia pallida.
The crypt keeper larvae then burrow into the bodies of the Bassesttia newborns and, when it comes time to hatch, forbidding them to chew their way out of what has become a tomb; scientists don’t know how the crypt keeper achieves this macabre feat, despite being suspected of being a form of mind control. After the host is eaten, the young crypt guardian wasp slowly emerges from its victim’s head.
Corresponding to the hardiness of tardigrade is difficult. With an evolutionary timeline dating back to the age of the dinosaurs, this miniature micro-animal – also known as a water bear – is renowned for its ability to survive extreme conditions. With bodies under 1 millimeter, these creatures can survive high doses of radiationfreezing conditions, extreme pressure and to be launched into space.
They do this by entering a “tun” state, in which their body dries up and curls up into a small ball, entering a state of protective hibernation. Unfortunately, the little creature cannot tolerate high temperatures for an extended period of time. Still, the tardigrade probably takes the note as the evolutionary equivalent of titanium.